Project Description

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Mapuru Weaving and Living on Country

We are privileged to run trips to the remote Community of Mäpuru in East Arnhem Land. A unique opportunity to learn about Yolngu culture from Indigenous leaders passing on their traditional skills and knowledge in basket weaving and bush survival.

 Please express interest to receive updates on when dates are confirmed and bookings open for 2023.

Express Interest Here

Arnhem Land – Mapuru

Twice a year we gather together a group of people and head out on the long and dusty Arnhem Highway. We take this journey in order to visit a small homeland community called Mäpuru. It is here that live our Yolŋu friends and adopted family who we have been working in partnership with for the past 12 years. We organise these trips in order to support our friends in making a meaningful living on country. In exchange they teach us what it means to live on and speak to the land; how to weave pandanas baskets; how the water tells its story of life through those very fibres we weave; and how we might actually be able to look at the world differently.

And so we invite you to join us, to live with and learn from the people of Mäpuru who are passing on their traditional skills and knowledge to future generations – as it has always been. Each visitor is welcomed with an open heart and mind, and given a rare glimpse into the Indigenous worldview.

THE JOURNEY

The group meets in Darwin before clambering into the hired 4WDs and commencing our 2 day drive into some of the remotest parts of Arnhem Land

The drive is spectacular. A long and dusty red road reaching to the East with river crossings, and stunning scenery. We spend the first night on the road camped at the top of an escarpment with views for miles below. We cook dinner on the camp fire under the crystal clear night sky – setting the tone for the days ahead.

Late on the following day we will arrive in Mäpuru and be warmly greeted by the community. That night we set up our camp (cooking, tents, camp fire). Our workshops start the following day.

Please email: mapuru@ceres.org.au to go on the expression of interest or waitlist

This will be an experience that will always be in the forefront of my mind. Thank you to CERES for taking on these trips and allowing us to participate and help the Arnhem Weavers keep their community and culture strong.

Catherine, Mapuru trip 2017

All Australians should experience something like this: Indigenous people living a semi-traditional life, and us visiting on their terms. The experience highlights how huge the gulf is between the two cultures, and how little the European Australian culture really learns or gives priority to the traditional culture of the country

Deidre, Mapuru trip 2017

The whole trip was very well organised and the information provided could not have been more detailed.
Everything was covered and at no stage was there a reason to be confused about what would / or was happening.
P.S. Fantastic food!

Jen, Mapuru trip 2017

Such an incredible experience connecting with the Mapuru community. It was an honor to contribute to a vision of Yolgnu people living lives of dignity on ancestral land.

Luke, Mapuru trip 2017

It was a wonderful adventure in so many ways – physically, emotionally, spiritually. I was outside my comfort zone, at the edge of my experience, challenged and confronted at times and I have been rewarded. My awareness is developing, my perspective has shifted. A reality-based frame of reference is now established within me. I have grown as a man and feel more connected with myself, with the earth, with my family and with the wonderful people at Mapuru.

Wayne, Mapuru trip 2017

I didn’t just learn how to weave a basket in Mäpuru, I took a brief glimpse at my universe differently.

Renata, 2012 participant

These trips always leave people with far more than baskets, bark paintings and didgeridoos. Whether it is through the intuitive guidance under the weaving shelter, walking through the mangrove forest, buffalo hunting on the mud-plains, swimming in the water-hole, gathering pandanus or being together around the bush camp-fire, the gentle people of Mäpuru open our western eyes to a glimmer of the knowledge and wisdom of Yolŋu culture.

Sophie, CERES Global Coordinator

The activities undertaken in Mapuru are determined by gender: Weaving Workshops for women and Living on Country Workshops for men. Each year we run 2 trips. One solely for woman, and the other a mixed trip, where the women who come do the same weaving activities as the women only trip but just in a smaller group size, and the men do the living on country workshops, camping in a separate location and undertaking men’s business activities.

Weaving Workshops for women

Weaving is used as a means of cultural exchange and will enable women participants to witness and learn the entire process; from the collection of barks, pandanus and kala (natural dyes) to the weaving and creation of your own pieces. There are also opportunities to collect bush honey, mangrove worms, go fishing and swimming in water holes. Along the way you will build friendships and learn about Yolngu culture.

Living on Country (‘Mens’ business’)

A rare opportunity to deepen cultural understanding through taking part in the daily activities involved in living on country. The exact structure of each day is organic in nature, decided through a process of group consensus, as is the way in Yolŋu culture. However activities may include hunting on the buffalo plains, fishing in the estuaries, collecting bush honey from the forest, stripping bark from trees, learning how to paint using traditional methods, making spears and didgeridoos and sharing time around the campfire.
During this time the elders share their skills, expertise, and knowledge of their traditional lifestyle in their ancient and majestic landscape.

Mäpuru-Trip-Info-Book

If you have any further questions please email:

mapuru@ceres.org.au

2023 Dates to be confirmed

Bookings for 2023 trips will open once dates are confirmed. For now, please email us at mapuru@ceres.org.au to go on the the expression of interest list so you will receive an email once dates are confirmed.

Mixed men and women trip Winter 2023 (10 days) – $2610

Women only trip Winter 2023 (12 days) $3090

To express interest and receive an email once bookings open, please fill in the online form here

Cost:
10 day mixed trip: $3410
12 day women only trip: $3990

Payment Schedule
Deposit: $400 deposit – due when signing up to the trip
Payment 2: $1810 -10 day trip / $1990 – 12 day trip: Due 1st April 2023
Payment 3: $1200 – 10 day trip / $1600 – 12 day trip: To be brought in person and paid directly to the Mapuru community whilst on the trip. 

Price Includes:
*$1200/$1600 for expert tuition, paid directly to Mapuru elders
*Food, equipment and car transfers between Darwin and Mapuru
*Group facilitation

Price Excludes:
*Flights to Darwin
*Personal insurance

Refund Policy
The $400 deposit is not refundable once dates are confirmed.
100% of payment 2 is refundable if the participant cancels prior to the 1st of April.
50% of payment 2 is refundable if the participant cancels 6 weeks prior to the trip’s departure, after which no refund is possible.
CERES has the right to demand payment of outstanding fees, plus legal recovery costs if any.
If CERES cancels the trip, all payments will be reimbursed.